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Five Self Made Women In Nigeria You Should Know About

1. Serah Makka Ugbabe


Serah is a development professional who is passionate about social equity and justice. She is currently the Nigeria Country Director for ONE Campaign. Serah began her career with the Fate Foundation USA, supporting the first Nigerian non-profit organization focused on entrepreneurship training to create employment. In 2006, Serah’s passion for social justice and girls’ empowerment led her to an assignment to teach girls English in Kabul, Afghanistan. Upon returning to Nigeria, Serah worked at the Tony Elumelu Foundation providing technical support to the Office of the Presidency of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. She was nominated by the Young People in International Affairs as one of the top 35 Under 35 Young African Leaders in International Affairs.

2. Temitope Oshin


Tope Oshin is a Nigerian television and film director, producer and casting director. In 2015 Pulse Magazine named her one of “9 Nigerian female film directors you should know” in the Nollywood film industry. In 2015, Oshin produced the romantic film Fifty. The film broke box office records upon release in December, taking N20 million in the first weekend. In 2016, she directed the documentary, Amaka’s Kin: The Women Of Nollywood, as a memorial to prominent film-maker Amaka Igwe, who died in 2014. The documentary addresses issues facing female directors working in Nollywood in a male-dominated industry. Tope has cast for several film and television projects including the MTV Staying Alive Foundation drama series Shuga.

3. Angela Ochu-Baiye


Angela received her Law (Commercial) degree from the University of Westminster and Masters of Law (Commercial & Corporate) from Queen Mary University of London UK. She started Idu Chambers in 2012, a Law firm that specializes in Corporate and Secretarial practice and offered free legal consultation every Friday as her pro bono service to the public due to the lack of information she saw which caused many to suffer mishap, especially in their workplace. She was very much interested in making legal consultation easy for many to have access to and preaching the message of people knowing their rights and showing how their right was equally protected under the law. An avid Entrepreneur, Angela’s passion for creating solutions to existing problems has led to the establishment of several successful businesses and concepts such as Kidz.com. Angela AKA Jela is a Radio talk show host and producer at WE FM 106.3 Abuja, where she anchors the popular shows Jela’s Clinic and The Conversation. Jela’s Clinic which she co-owns with WE FM 106.3 is her brainchild where she seats with different experts in various fields to listen to her audience call LIVE asking questions relating to any aspect of their lives in which they need help with. Her team then diagnose the situation of the caller by asking further questions for clarification, so they can deliberate and offer medication. Medication is in form of advice, suggestions, getting the caller to change their perspective and where the team cannot handle the matter, the clinic refers the caller to an expert off-air.

4. Hilda Pwaleri Makonto


The story of Mrs. Hilda Pwaleri Makonto, mni, is an inspiring one. She turned her misery to an opportunity to impact the world. In October 1994, her husband, Mr. Markson Makonto, passed on abruptly in a ghastly motor accident leaving her a widow to cater for 6 children with the first child in SS2 and the last Nursery 1. The challenges faced as a young widow made her accomplish a lot particularly her passion as a philanthropist in the society with challenged women. She pioneered the Adamawa State Widows Association as the President, ensuring that the right and privileges of widows and their children are protected. As the President of the Adamawa State Widows Association that she holds so dearly, Mrs. Hilda Makonto dedicates most of her time, resources and engaging widows of all backgrounds towards channeling their energies into self-development. She is also involved in various capacity building programmes in promoting Peace and Security of women and their children’s interest in both Governmental and Non-Governmental Organizations including the United Nations as UN Women Lead Mentor in Adamawa State Nigeria. A seasoned Civil Servant and an alumnus of the prestigious National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) and Royal Institute of Personnel Management, United Kingdom, Makanto is leading the advocacy for men who are 40 and above to write their wills as a way of protecting their wives and children.

5. Dame Winifred Akpani


Mrs. Akpani has 27 years’ post-graduation experience starting in 1987 as a Trainee Accountant in Oni Lasebikan & Co. (now Ernst & Young, Osindero) an Accounting Firm. Thereafter, she moved to Arthur Andersen & Co. (now KPMG Professional Services), where she qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1990. She left practice in 1992 as an Audit Senior and joined Flame Petroleum & Gas Company Limited, a start-up Oil Marketing Company as Financial Controller. She rose through the management and became an Executive Director in 1997. In her quest for self-fulfilment, she left the Company in 1998 to found Northwest Petroleum & Gas Company Limited and assumed the position of Managing Director / Chief Executive Officer. Mrs. Akpani is also a Director of Millennium Oil and Gas Company Limited, Operator of Oza Marginal field and Northwest Energy Nigeria Limited, a Company in the exploration and production sector. She is also a Director of Fleet Travels and Tours Nigeria Limited, a First Class Travel Agency, and has substantial interests in the Banking industry.

6. Unoma Okorafor


A graduate of Computer and Electrical Engineering from the University of Lagos, Dr. Unoma Ndili Okorafor is the brain behind Working to Advance African Women (WAAW). Passionate about the promotion of female education, Dr. Unoma Okorafor founded WAAW in 2007 while she was a Ph.D. student. WAAW foundation currently runs 13 STEM outreach and mentoring programs in 8 different African countries including Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, Cameroon, Malawi, Togo, and South Africa; and is hoping to expand it to more countries to impact on more girls. WAAW Foundation works with over 110 university fellows in the 13 STEM cells, reaching over 6000 public school students each year. Dr. Unoma is especially focused focuses on girls in poverty-affected areas with a goal to ultimately increase the pipeline of African girls entering STEM-related careers.

7. Ndidi Nnoli Edozien

She is a Nigerian social entrepreneur and corporate sustainability and responsibility (CSR) expert and Bottom of the Pyramid empowerment advocate. She is also the Founder and President of the Growing Businesses Foundation; Nigeria’s largest Bottom of the Pyramid platform which has been managing CSR Projects for multinational corporations. Her status as a social entrepreneur has been recognized by the Bertelsmann AG to whom she is affiliated as a Reinhard Mohn Fellow. At the Africa Conference on Women in Governance, Business and Community Leadership and Women of Influence Awards in London 2010, she received the African Star Excellence Award in Business Development. A member of the International Finance Corporation (IFC), Nnoli-Edozien has contributed to policy reforms in Nigeria through her work with government ministries and agencies. Nnoli-Edozien currently serves as a board member of the United World Colleges National Committee in Nigeria and is responsible for Alumni, fundraising and student selection.

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Written by BJ

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